Republicans win back control of State Senate - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Republicans win back control of State Senate

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MADISON (WKOW) -- While it was a big night in Wisconsin for Democrats, the party lost control of the State Senate.

Republicans won two key races to gain an 18-15 advantage.

In Senate District 12, where Democratic incumbent Jim Holperin is retiring, Rep. Tom Tiffany (R) scored a decisive 56-40 victory over Susan Sommer (D).

The GOP also picked up a seat they lost in the 2011 recalls in District 18.  Rick Gudex (R) defeated Sen. Jessica King (D-Oshkosh) in an extremely close race, winning by fewer than 600 votes.

Republicans will also maintain at least a 20 vote majority in the State Assembly, but lost a seat in Rock County, where Deb Kolste (D) defeated incumbent Rep. Joe Knilans (R-Janesville) by more than 20 percent of the vote.

Republicans lost another race of interest in Assembly District 75 in Barron County, where Democrat Stephen Smith defeated incumbent Rep. Roger Rivard (R-Rice Lake) 51-49. 

Rivard made headlines in September when the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel revealed comments he made in December 2011 to the Chetek Alert newspaper, saying that his father had once told him that "some girls rape easy."  Rivard was responding to a question about a sexual assault case.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Republicans have reclaimed the majority in the state Senate.

According to unofficial results from Tuesday night's election, Republicans picked up two seats. Numbers show Republican Tom Tiffany captured an open seat in Senate District 12 by defeating Democrat Susan Sommer and Libertarian Paul Ehlers. Results also show Republican Rick Gudex defeated Democratic incumbent Sen. Jessica King for the 18th district seat.

Four incumbent Republicans also retained their seats, giving them the majority at 17 to 15.

Republicans will also take over another seat in December. The seat in district 33 is vacant at the moment because former Sen. Rich Zipperer resigned to take a post in Gov. Scott Walker's cabinet. Two Republican candidates ran in a special primary race Tuesday night. No Democrats are in the running. The general election in District 33 is set for December 4.

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